Recruiting for the Future


I have written previously about avoiding a bad hire. In that article, I focused on the processes around recruiting and the importance of complete and utter clarity around the expectations of a role.

Today, I’d like to take a step back and look at recruitment from a different perspective. One that starts well before you begin to look for specific people to join the team. Because I believe that many of us recruit in the wrong tense. We look backwards and try to find the opposite of what didn’t work before. Or we sit in the present and look at precisely what we need to fill a gap in the team right now.

Forward-Thinking Recruiting

The problem with both of those, is they ignore the most important part of any new recruit’s job. And that’s the future.

Let’s take Barbara Smith and her growing cosmetics company, ‘The Face’. She has a strategy in place based on:

  • A Purpose: ‘We exist to make people look and feel great’
  • A Vision: ‘To be the most trusted sustainable online cosmetics supplier on the West Coast’
  • A Mission: ‘To be the chosen cosmetics brand for over 500,000 Americans by 2030’
  • A set of values: ‘Pampering, Responsive and Sustainable’

Currently, she supplies 30,000 customers. This is possible with a tight management team. Last month her Head of Marketing and Sales resigned; heHead of marketing, the boss is moving to Europe. Barbara loved her work on packaging and brand, but she was constantly disappointed by his management of the sales team.

Barabara’s first instinct is to hire a replacement with a brilliant track record of building sales teams. This would, clearly, raise the standard in an area where the business is currently weak.

Her second idea is to look at the lack of press coverage in the print media right now. This is a key marketing role. So, she thinks about taking on a marketer with a strong PR background.

At this point she speaks to a business consultant who asks her a very simple question:

“When you have realized your vision, and you have half a million Americans using your incredible products every week, how will your marketing team look?”

There is silence. Barbara thinks carefully about this future state. Well, at that point it would be too big a role for a single person, even with a team underneath them. 

I’d have a management team of six: A Head of Packaging. A Head of Communication. A Head of Advertising. A Head of Digital. And a Head of Sales. Those five would report into a Head of Brand and Marketing who would report into me.”

The consultant asks Barbara to sketch out a simple Org Chart to illustrate how they would work together and how they would work alongside the rest of the business.

It becomes clear that if the business grows on its current trajectory, the role she is about to recruit for will no longer exist.

Businesses Evolve

This is yet another reason that a clear, relevant mission is so important to any business. It’s only by understanding exactly where you want to be that you can plan the best way to get there. NASA didn’t land on the moon by taking the existing team of rocket scientists and asking them to do what they were doing a little better. It worked backwards from the end goal and put in place a structure to fit.

This doesn’t mean you need to employ huge numbers of new people right now. But if you can draw a future org chart, you can then recruit into it. It might be that in year one, the person will cover two or more future roles. But with a clear understanding of the ‘why’, and how it fits with your clearly constructed vision for the future, you will build the right team to take you where you want to be.

So, if you are looking to hire in 2022; try building an org chart for 2025. See how it looks, understand how roles will have evolved and build for the future.

Lorne Asks

  • Have you defined your purpose? 
  • Have you defined your mission and mission goals? 
  • Do you have a mission that leads you to 2025?
  • Have you built an org chart to match?

About Lorne Noble

Lorne loves finance so you don’t have to (seriously, he plays with Excel sheets on vacation)! He spent 12 years in corporate London as an investment analyst then made the jump to Boulder, Colorado to act as finance mentor to high impact companies at The Unreasonable Institute, Girl Effect Accelerator and Singularity University. He has an MBA from IE business school in Madrid, Spain.

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